Coming to digital from Shout! Studios is the return of director Jim Henson’s THE LABYRINTH and directors Jim Henson and Frank Oz with THE DARK CRYSTAL.
In THE LABYRINTH, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is a 16-year-old who is frustrated with her family. Late coming home from a trip to the park reading her book The Labyrinth, she has to babysit her constantly crying infant brother Toby (Toby Froud). Making matters worse is discovering that Toby has taken her beloved bear Lancelot! At her wits end, she calls out to the goblins from the book to take Toby away.
When the house goes silent, Sarah realizes something is wrong. Going to Toby’s room she discovers him missing and standing before her is the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie) offering her a deal. When she doesn’t take it, he gives Sarah thirteen hours to solve the labyrinth or Toby will be gone forever.
In the King’s world, Sarah meets Hoggle (Brian Henson/Shari Weiser) and once escaping a trap, Hoggle runs into Jareth who uses him to get at the girl. Sarah meets Ludo (Ron Mueck/Rob Mills) by helping him get free but loses him quickly. When they meet up again, a trapdoor takes them to the Bog of Eternal Stench. Guarding the smell is Sir Didymus (Dave Goelz/David Shaughnessy) and his steed Ambrosius (Steve Whitmire/Kevin Clash/Percy Edwards). But a peach changes everything as once again Sarah is rescued by her friends.
Jareth learns that the group is close and sends in his army of goblins and as much as Ludo wants to help Sarah, she realizes that she must take on the Goblin King alone.
Connelly as Sarah portrays how most teens feel about babysitting any sibling let alone one that seems to spend his babyhood wrapped in a veil of tears. Once the chase is on to recover him, she begins to soften her feelings knowing that the only thing she wants from the whole experience is to have her little brother back. Connelly is so young, charming and endearing in this role and I hope she knows how many of us not only love this film but love her in it.
Bowie as Goblin King Jareth is absolutely wonderful. They found the right person to wear the costume and give us all in 1982 a reason to embrace this bad-guy character. Bowie lulls us with his unique and mystical voice all the while trying to find a way to trick a rather smart young lady. It truly is a thrill to see him in this film again and again.
Other cast/puppets include Karen Prell/Timothy Bateson as The Worm, Frank Oz/Michael Hordern as The Wiseman, Dave Goelz/David Shaughnessy as The Hat, and Karen Prell/Denise Bryer as The Junk Lady.
In THE DARK CRYSTAL directed by Jim Henson, is a darker story yet iconic and embraced by those who love the puppetry he uses in this tale.
On Thra, there was once a Crystal of Truth and when it was shattered, two new races came into being. The Skeksis who found ways to extend their life and the urRu/Mystics who live in the Valley of Stones. They are a gentler race and their leader is UrSu the Master. UrSu is raising a Gelfling who lost his family to the Skeksis and his name is Jen (Stephen Garlick).
Now, the Great Conjunction is happening and UrSu tells Jen he must find a way to heal the Crystal and to get the Shard from Aughra (Billie Whitelaw). If he doesn’t before the three suns meet, then the Skeksis will take over. In the meantime, SkekUng (Michael Kilgarriff) is the new emperor and wants to capture Jen.
Jen meets Aughra and he finally gets a lesson about the Conjunction as he chooses the correct Shard. Before they can talk any further, Garthim () and the army arrive to take Aughra as Jen manages to escape. In the swamp, Jen sees another Gelfling in Kira (Lisa Maxwell) and discover they share memories.
Jen and Kira find a deserted Gelfling city and the prophecy that can help them. SkekSil (Barry Dennen) tells them about what happened to the Gelflings. Getting away once again, Kira, Jen and Fizzgig (Percy Edwards) are now in the catacombs trying to get inside the castle. SkekSil finds them and chaos breaks out.
Will Jen and Kira make it in time before the three suns Align to bring the Crystal of Truth together once again?
Other cast include Jerry Nelson as SkekZok, Steve Whitmire as SkekTek, Hugh Spight as Swee Lim, Toby Philpott as UrTih the Alchemist, Hus Levant as UrAc the Scribe, Simon Williamson as UrSol/ the Chanter, Jean Pierre Amiel as UrUtt the Weaver, Hugh Spight as UrAmaj the Cook,and Joseph O’Conor as UrSkeks and Narrator.
Launched in 2003, Shout! Studios is a multiplatform media company specializing in film and TV distribution, development, and production. Shout! Studios owns and manages a large portfolio of contemporary and classic feature films, series, animation, and documentaries. The company’s creative acquisition includes Aardman Animations, ALF, The Carol Burnett Show, Stephen J. Cannell Productions, the Roger Corman New Horizons Pictures Library, GKIDS, Studio Ghibli, ITV Studios, The Johnny Carson Show, LAIKA Studios, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in partnership with creator Joel Hodgson), and Sesame Street, alongside many others. For more please visit www.shoutfactory.com.
The Jim Henson Company has remained a leader in family entertainment for over 65 years and is recognized as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics, and digital animation. Henson’s most recent credits include the Oscar®-winning Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio for Netflix, the Emmy®-winning Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock for Apple TV+, and the feature film The Portable Door for MGM+.
The bonus offerings for APPLE iTunes Extras include:
THE LABYRINTH – Commentary with Brian Froud, Reordering Time: Looking Back on Labyrinth, The Henson Legacy, Remembering The Goblin King, Anniversary Q&A, Inside The Labyrinth, Original Theatrical Trailer, Original Teaser Trailer and Original TV Spot.
THE DARK CRYSTAL – Commentary with Brian Froud, The World of “The Dark Crystal”, Storyboard Track, The Myth, Magic and the Henson Legacy, Light on the Path of Creation, Shard of Illusion, Deleted Funeral Scene, Original Skeksis Language and Photo Galleries.
These two films are the amazing creation of Jim Henson (along with Frank Oz) and they have become too iconic to the generations. I saw these films first, then my kids and now my grandchildren are seeing the wonders that were created and hold as timeless. The imagination and creativity it took to bring both of these films to the big screen is nothing short of genius.
Now, they are back to entertain families once again with their beauty because, and it must be said, that the craftsmanship of the characters and the puppets is breathtaking at the very least. The scenery that becomes another character in the story telling is a story in itself. That being said, it is time to cuddle up the family, bowls of popcorn to go around and watch LABYRINTH and THE DARK CRYSTAL back-to-back. It is generational must see!
In the end – return to the mystic and the magic!